“Is there any evidence to suggest that jobs are for sale?’’ said Murphy. “Did Paul Ware say in his report that any legislator got money for jobs? The answer is no. He didn’t. It is not there. He says there is a statistical probability of something like that, a chance. That’s not evidence. And he was very clear to state that.’’Emphasis mine. Ware's report is absolutely devastating to the credibility of our Government in Massachusetts -- and it certainly calls into question many legislators in the state legislature.
It gets worse.
Ware, in his investigation, also pursued the Spotlight finding that probation was beset with a "pay to play mentality" in which scores of job seekers made contributions to legislators in apparent hopes of favored treatment. Ware said he could not prove that individual politicians got jobs for people directly in exchange for campaign contributions, which could violate state and federal bribe statutes. But he said statistical evidence shows that legislators tried much harder to get jobs for people who gave them campaign contributions. Ware said his job was to investigate problems in probation, leaving it to others to probe whether legislators broke the law, too.
The special counsel makes it clear that O'Brien, a protege of former House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran, was supporting legislators' job candidates in exchange for a bigger probation budget. O'Brien's political aides methodically kept track of legislators' favored candidates for jobs, showing that legislative leaders received by far the most patronage hires, Ware found.Terrifyingly, it gets even worse.
Ware found that O'Brien's patronage machine was so extensive that some legislators rated their people on a scale of one to four, often giving the highest rating to people who were also campaign contributors. On one "Sponsor List" compiled for O'Brien, Ware found that 62 percent of the legislator-backed candidates got probation jobs -- if they also gave money. But only 25 percent of sponsored candidates who did not give money got probation jobs.The legitimacy of our very state government is in peril with the Ware Report. With all due respect to Representative Murphy, the House leadership is the last body that should be making decisions about the probation department. This is especially true when Representative Petrolati is #3 on the House Totem Pole. This is a man who is so deeply embroiled in this entire scandal that he was not only compelled to testify about it (after holding out for a lengthy period of time), but he actually refused to answer any questions when finally questioned.
While Governor Patrick recognized the probation department as a "rogue agency," Representative Murphy "pushed back strongly" against the report. Who do we want making the decisions about how this agency is ran?
The fact of the matter is Governor Patrick is the only person in state government who has demonstrated the political courage and trust necessary to tackle the reforms this agency needs, and placing the agency under the executive branch will at least ensure someone is accountable for its actions and the way it is run. The leadership in the House and Senate must recognize that if trust is to be given to our state government, it cannot delay or somehow try to hold out. Too many of its members are potentially involved.